California Bans Bobcat Trapping
California’s Fish and Game Commission’s Historic Vote Shows National Leadership on Wildlife Protection
Fortuna, California – Today, the California Fish and Game Commission voted 3 to 2* in favor of ending the commercial and recreational trapping of bobcats in California, becoming the first state in the nation to do so.
“The Commission’s vote is historic. Banning the cruel and unnecessary trapping of bobcats for the international fur trade is widely supported by the public and this vote shows California’s continued leadership in protecting wildlife,” says Camilla Fox, Founder and Executive Director of Project Coyote. “California is sending a strong message that the cruel and wanton killing of wildlife, especially for profit, is no longer acceptable.”
Fewer than 100 Californians trap bobcats for the fur trade. Bobcat pelts are feeding the growing international fur market in Asia, Russia and Europe. A single bobcat pelt can sell upwards to $1,000.
“The value of one live bobcat to the millions who enjoy wildlife watching far outweighs the profit a lone fur trapper makes off a bobcat that has been killed,” adds Fox. “Trapping bobcats is ethically indefensible, ecologically unsound, and economically unjustifiable.” Trapped bobcats are generally clubbed and/or suffocated to death.
Bobcats are an important native species to California, helping control rodent populations that carry zoonotic diseases including plague and Hantavirus.
“I’m very pleased with the results today and see the Commission’s action as a major step forward in protecting California’s precious wildlife,” said Assemblymember Richard Bloom who authored the Bobcat Protection Act signed by Governor Jerry Brown in 2013. The Bobcat Protection Act mandated that the Commission promulgate regulations to implement the act and authorized the Commission to take further action to restrict or ban bobcat trapping which is what they did today.
Dr. Rick Hopkins, Project Coyote Science Advisor and Conservation Biologist said in a letter to the Commission, “While sport hunting or killing of predators is often touted a management tool, it rarely is; in essence we manage for the sport hunt, not by it.”
The Commission heard overwhelming public testimony in support of Option 2 and Project Coyote’s Camilla Fox hand delivered nearly 30,000 signatures from a Change.org petition supporting the “no bobcat trapping” option. This vote, together with last year’s vote closing loopholes on coyote killing contests, shows a fundamental shift in how California is choosing to coexist with its native wildlife.
(*Commissioners Eric Sklar, Anthony Williams, and Jack Baylis voted in support of the ban. Commissioners Jim Kellogg and Jacqueline Hostler-Carmesin voted against.)